You've heard the old saying "Big bangs come in small packages". That aphorism couldn't be more true than when applied to former WBC bantamweight champion Wayne McCullough. At 5'6" and with a fighting weight of around 126lbs, you might be forgiven for calling him a little fellow if you met him on the street. But when you add a professional ledger of 26-4 (17), the heart of a warrior and a pair of fists forged of steel, you can call him the 'Pocket Rocket'.
Photo © Mary Ann Owen
McCullough has shared the ring with some of the world's best fighters from the featherweight division and below, including Erik Morales, Naseem Hamed, Daniel Zaragoza and Johnny Bredahl. In 2001 McCullough suffered a temporary setback when a CAT scan revealed he had a cyst on his brain. Subsequent medical tests confirmed that the cyst was a naturally occurring growth and not the result of blunt head trauma, clearing the way for McCullough to resume his pugilistic career. If there is one thing you can say about McCullough, it's that he is definitely not a quitter.
The 'Pocket Rocket' took some time out of his busy schedule to talk shop with Doghouse Boxing's Benny Henderson.
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Benny Henderson: Who gave you the 'Pocket Rocket' name and what does it mean?
Wayne McCullough: I was named 'Pocket Rocket' by one of my team mates in the 1988 Olympic Games. I was so short he said that I could fit in your pocket and I threw punches like a rocket-and the 'Pocket Rocket' was born.
BH: Who was your biggest influence in boxing?
WMcC: Barry McGuigan was my boxing idol as I was growing up. I was able to see his fights on TV and since he was a fellow Irishman I wanted to emulate him when I grew up.
BH: Your manager is also your wife. How does that work out and does it ever get hard to keep your business life out of your personal life?
WMcC: Sometimes it's hard to separate business from pleasure because Cheryl and I are together 24 hours a day, but she has been my manager
for the past 7 years and it has worked out so far!!
BH: Out of all your bouts which one is the most memorable, and for what reason?
WMcC: The most memorable bout I fought was my world title fight. I had to go to Japan to fight the Japanese champion in his hometown.
BH: It has been rumored that you might be hanging up the gloves and retiring, and a few more say that it is very possible that you'll be fighting again. Do you really know at this point? And if you do, can you tell us which one it is?
WMcC: I will definitely be getting back in the ring and soon! I hope to be fighting again in June. The problem is that most people gave up after my loss to Harrison. But the people that know me have been working hard to get me a promoter and a fight and finally that time has come. I can't wait to get back in the ring and enjoy boxing again.
BH: Let's just say that Wayne McCullough never boxed in his life. What would be the career you would have chosen?
BH: In your opinion, who are the top three boxers of all time? In any weight class.
WMcC: Roy Jones Jr., Henry Armstrong, Muhammad Ali.
BH: Any fighter, any weight class, past or present: which is the one you would like to step in the ring with, and for what reason?
WMcC: Present time I would like to step in with Manny Pacquiao, because he throws a lot of punches, and I like to fight a guy who will stand and trade with me. The fighter from the past who I would have liked to have stepped in the ring with would have been Henry Armstrong also because he threw a lot of punches, and Eddie Futch, always likened him to my style of fighting.
BH: What advice would you give to a person who was thinking about boxing as a career?
WMcC: Get the right team around you who are going to look out for your best interests, and a good trainer.
BH: What is your opinion of Tommy Morrison as a fighter?
WMcC: Fantastic! He always came out to fight, and could punch with either hand. And I especially liked him in Rocky V.
I would personally like to thank Wayne and Cheryl McCullough for taking the time out to do this interview for the fans. For more information on Wayne, visit his website at www.pocketrocketbox.com. There you will find fun facts, fight record, photos, fan club, Wayne's Store, and a lot more. You can also submit a question for Wayne.
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